Lucid Deep Sleep

Now that you can wake up in your dreams, now what?  What would it be like to be awake all the time, regardless of what state of consciousness that you are in?

The above picture depicts the timeless, directionless plenum of space in which all form arises. The Buddhist word for this is Sunyata. We know that some 98{be93f16b5d2e768a85ea81ebc8356f268811d3908838ae6233aa33d012b25ec9} of the universe consists of something physicists call “dark matter.”  In this sense, the formless, spaceless, timeless, emptiness of the universal plenum is what is “most real” about existence, and yet we normally see right through it, oblivious to the richness, abundance, and creativity that is the nature of pure presence.  How do we access this level of consciousness, the wellspring of abundance and all creativity?

All of us think that we are awake, but few of us are.  Those who are most likely to be most awake, and therefore have the most credibility regarding how to wake up out of our self-created life dream, are those who can stay awake while in the deep sleep state.  Can you?

Hinduism and Buddhism refers to this state as turyatita, and formless meditation while awake, then entering formless meditation when becoming lucid in a dream, and then maintaining that clear meditative awareness, appears to be the classical way of developing deep sleep lucidity.  Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche accesses and teaches deep sleep lucidity.

In turiyatita, there is no duality or form.  There is no sense of self, because a sense of self creates an experience of duality with that which is not-self.  Similarly, there are no mental contents or any experience of mind at all.  Here is a story about turiyatita:

Zen master Tai-yung, passing by the retreat of another Zen master named Chih-huang, stopped and during his visit respectfully asked, “I am told that you frequently enter into Samadhi. At the time of such entrances, does your consciousness continue or are you in a state of unconsciousness? If your consciousness continues, all sentient beings are endowed with consciousness and can enter into Samadhi like yourself. If, on the other hand, you are in a state of unconsciousness, plants and rocks can enter into Samadhi.” Huang replied, “When I enter into a Samadhi, I am not conscious of either condition.” Yung said, “If you are not conscious of either condition, this is abiding in eternal Samadhi, and there can be neither entering into a Samadhi nor rising out of it.”

Koan: Chih-huang, Tai-yung, Samadhi at

Ken Wilber describes turiyatita as a state in which “the Witness (or the observer within every individual), itself dissolves into everything that is witnessed and there is the pure nondual realization of One Taste.”

Integral Transformative Practice: In This World or Out of It?

Some authors (Dustin Diperna, distinguish between turiyatita as a temporary state characterized by bliss and ecstasy, as contrasted to the stable state of final liberation.  We are using turiyatita here to refer to a stable and permanent stage of development, not a temporary, experiential state, or as DiPerna’s  liberations. Another way of saying this is that the goal is to maintain turiyatita from lucid dream awakening into deep sleep and to then maintain it throughout the duration of deep sleep, into your next dream period, and from thence in an uninterrupted fashion into your waking life experience.

Some may doubt whether such a state actually is possible.  Ken Wilber has written about its reality in a personal, provocative, and convincing way:

“….At some point in the evening we got into a discussion about meditation and the changes it can produce in brain waves. A young man training to be a psychiatrist asked me to get out a videotape I have of me connected to an EEG machine while I meditate  he believed none of the discussion about how meditation could profoundly alter brain waves, and he wanted ‘proof.’

The tape shows me hooked to an EEG machine; this machine shows alpha, beta, theta, and delta waves in both left and right hemispheres.  Alpha is associated with awake but relaxed awareness; beta with intense and analytic thinking, theta is normally produced only in the dream state, and sometimes instates of intense creativity; and delta is normally produced only in deep dreamless sleep.  So alpha and beta are associated with the gross realm; theta with the subtle realm; and delta with the causal realm. Or, we could say, alpha and beta tend to be indicative of ego states, and delta of spirit states.  Delta presumably has something to do with the pure Witness, which most people experience only in deep dreamless sleep.

This video starts with me hooked up to the machine; I am in normal waking consciousness, so you can see a lot of alpha and beta activity in both hemispheres.  But you can also see a large amount of delta waves; in both hemishpheres the delta indicators are at maximum, presumably because of constant stable witnessing.  I then attempt to go into a type of nirvikalpa smadhi — or complete mental cessation — and within four or five seconds, all of the machine’s indicators go completely to zero.  It looks like whoever this is, is totally brain-dead.  There is no alpha, no beta, no theta–but there is still maximum delta.

After several minutes of this, I start doing a type of mantra visualization technique — yidam mediation, which I have always maintained is predominantly a subtle-level practice–and sure enough, large amounts of theta waves immediately show up on the machine, along with maximum delta. The fact that theta, which normally occurs only in dreaming, and delta, which normally occurs only in deep sleep, are both being produced in a wide-awake subject tends to indicate a type of simultaneous presence of gross, subtle, and causal states (e.g., turiyatita).  It is, in any event, attention-grabbing.”

One Taste, Ken Wilber, pp, 75-76

Here is what one student writes: “The best way to induce lucid deep sleep is to receive direct introducion into the nature of mind from a Dzogchen master, and then go to sleep without dropping the primordial letter A, or any of the seed syllables of the yidam, if you don´t practice dzogchen but tantra.  It works perfectly for me!”

You are invited to add your experiences and to share your favorite teachings and references about deep sleep lucidity at the deep sleep lucidity page of the DreamYoga.Com blog.